Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
GLENDALE, Ariz. — A goal, an assist and an overall impressive showing.
Michael Bradley delivered his latest fine outing for the U.S. Men’s National Team in their 2-2 draw with Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday, making an impact on both sides of the ball and being a key figure in the Americans jumping out to a 2-0 lead in a dominant first half.
Playing at the top of a diamond midfield, Bradley was a tackling machine on defense and involved in nearly every good attacking sequence the U.S. had vs. El Tri. He played simply and intelligently, moving the ball very quickly by using lots of one- and two-touch passes.
The veteran midfielder also scored the opener from close range after losing his mark on a corner kick in the 15th minute and then used his head to nick a ball into the path of Chris Wondolowski for the 2-0 lead 13 minutes later.
Bradley was downright dominant in the opening 45 minutes and though he was not as impactful in the second half, he still earned SBI’s USMNT Man of the Match award for his efforts. Honorable mention went to defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who played a big part in allowing Bradley to attack so effectively.
Who gets your vote for USMNT Man of the Match vs. Mexico? Cast your vote after the jump:
Agree that Bradley was the best USMNT player vs. Mexico? Who else did you think was deserving of the Man of the Match award?
Share your thoughts below.
Who are the 8% not voting for Bradley? I assume they didn’t watch. Beckerman was good, very good even. Bradley blew all other 21 (plus subs) off the pitch. Even without the goal and assist he would easily have been MOTM. When was the last time an individual was more important to the US National team? Was Reyna ever this important? Donovan in the late 2000s?
I voted for Bradley. He had a world class performance last night. Thats said, if you look at his rating for the past two years, some were very good, some were just average. If he continues playing like this in the next three friendlies I would sacrifice putting Jones on the bench and starting Beckerman to allow Bradley to go forward more. However, I’m not sold just yet on benching Jones.
Actually it is pretty obvious who had the biggest impact. Bradley dominated the first half without a doubt. But he man who I was most impressed with, was Chis Wondolowski. Especially when you compare him against the performance of international sensation Julian Green. In Green, you have the best of the Bayern Munich academy. Just that fact alone “in theory” should be good enough for him to be competitive against lowly CONCACAF opponents. Yet that was not the case. Green showed flashes, but looked far from a polished international. On the flip side, In Wondo, you have the journeyman MLS cast off, who through hard work, and determination has become one of the elite scorers in the league. His positioning and reading of the game was incredible. He understood exactly where to be and how to force the defense to stretch out and track him. He was a pest and his goal was a result of him not giving up on the play.. Jozy could actually learn a few things from Wondo. To me, Wondo looked like the seasoned international ready to brawl and ready to continue to do what Wondo does! Green on the other hand looked like he needs more time. I think if Wondo continues to score goals in MLS, Klinsmann would be a fool not to take him to Brazil. So i voted for Wando. I have always liked him in MLS, but he opened my eyes tonight about what he can consistently do, and what he brings to the table. The guy is no fluke!
In the last 4 years, Wondo has scored more MLS goals than anyone else by a very wide margin. That includes out-scoring guys like David Beckham, Robby Keane, Landon Donavon, Hercules Gomez, Juan Agudelo, Eddy Johnson in each of those 4 seasons (except for Keane in 2013).
If you watch his games, you will notice he works tirelessly off the ball to move and get into good spots. It is the primary reason he gets so many shots and he has enough talent to finish a lot of those shots.
True, he is not a flashy dribbler, and is not the fastest runner on the field, nor is he overpowering in the air, but he just finds ways to score.
Too many people discount him for his supposed lack of athleticism, but the intelligent approach he takes puts him in spots where all he has to do is tap the ball home.
“True, he is not a flashy dribbler, and is not the fastest runner on the field, nor is he overpowering in the air, but he just finds ways to score.”
Funny, this pretty much describes Klinsmann during his playing days, too. Not hard to see why JK keeps giving Wondo chances and Wondo is capitalizing on it, big-time.
Yup. Van Nistelrooy also made a career out of scoring inside the 6 yard box. After a while, if you’re in the right place at the right time, it’s not luck.
I think most of the doubt about Wondolowki involves fear that he lacks the technical abilities these guys and won’t be able to produce on the much slimmer pickings he will get against the very best teams. I don’t know. We’ll see or we won’t. But I like the fight he is putting up, so I can root for him.
Sign me up for the Wondow fan club. His goal yesterday will go down as one of the USMNT’s most beautiful ever, perfect outlet pass from Captain Clint, perfect cross from the kid Beltran, perfect (bald) head pass from Mikey-Cakes and a perfect finish from Wondow. And for all the Wondow haters protesting that it was an easy tap-in, well, you all have to finally accept the reality that he is going to be on the plane to Brazil unless he suffers a massive drop in form or injury and I think he could even be a surprise starter. The guy is great. Three goals the past two games against tough teams. His finish yesterday was far from easy, he positioned himself perfectly in the build-up, timed his run like a Swiss watch, and his first-touch finish was a thing of beauty that has been missed thousands of times in past years by top strikers.
Except it wasn’t a pass from SpongeMikeSquarePass, he was trying to steer it for a shot at goal. His back was turned to the far post and could, therefore, didn’t see the player who eventually scored.
One of these days Ted Tran will roll through this late night trolling attempt and somebody will finally show some appreciation for your very clever Spongebob something blah blah blah end…
Where are the characters who predicted the immediate demise of Michael Bradley because he’s an MLS player?
It seems to me his was the best player on the field. Admit your wrong folks.
I guess someone didn’t watch the second half where he was clearly overmatched.
In fact, in the first half, he wasn’t very good but a goal and an assist are more than enough to make up for it. Too bad he didn’t score in the second half, otherwise his putrid performance against an average midfield would be forgotten.
LOL, found one.
Hard to pick a MOTM for this game, Bradley disappeared after Mexico brought in two little guys…
I don’t understand why Bradley is not captain. He’s everything you ask for in one.
As for Dempsey, he has a Teflon reputation with some US fans, I guess. Reading people straining to turn his invisible performance (but for about a five minute period in the second half) is …interesting. That someone out there actually gave MotM votes… in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, I shall retire to Bedlam…
What difference does it make who wears the armband?
Too much danm drama
Agreed. Who cares who wears the armband? Not sure why some people have to bash other players in order to compliment Bradley. We’ve got some crazy fans, man. You’d think everyone would be rooting for the team and be happy when they are successful, but ther are clearly a lot of folks rooting for certain players to fail so that it confirms their view of the world or just bc they’re haters, it’s so weird.
Only invisible to you, I think. Everyone else saw him play a vital role in the buildup to the beautiful second goal.
OK, you’re JK, name your 23. If easier, name your 30.
No question that Bradley was MoM. I, for one, am willing to sacrifice all of Jermaine Jones’ athletic qualities in favor of Beckerman. Becks makes up for most of the athletic deficiencies with great positioning, and the fact that his discipline allows Bradley to go forward is a rock solid clincher for me. Jones is not inclined to stay home, Edu does not have Beckerman’s touch or passing abilities, and Cameron doesn’t have the positional sense of Beckerman. Pirlo is small, slow, and looks like a chain smoker, but somehow he’s the best deep lying playmaker on the planet. Beckerman is obviously not that, but I’ll take smarts and discipline from my Defensive Center Mid over athleticism any day
I don’t disagree with you. I hope Klinnsmann tries the Bradley/Beckerman combo in the upcoming friendlies. However, just because they had one great game together doesn’t ensure it will continue. I would like to see more games before benching Jones for the World Cup..
Jones neutralizes Bradley. He’s not patient and when he leads the midfield it’s spasmodic. Put him on the plane as a sub for MB.
Mexico is not nearly the level of competition we will be facing to Brazil. Each of those teams are capable of making deep runs into the world cup with the talent they have. Now, I’m not saying beckerman is bad, but I don’t think he has the physical tools, or experience to hang with the teams we will be facing. I do think Jones is a lot better as well, but only if he gets back playing deep in the defense like he did for schalke. But, we don’t know what the coaching staff says so it is only really speculation. Maybe they want Jones to attack. Who knows.
You’ll want Jones when he’s going up against Germany and Portugal.
How can Bradley be the man of the match if he plays for Toronto while Julian green plays for Bayern?
Where is that clown expat anyways?
I think there’s resonable chance one of the two: Altidore or Dempsey not starting in the World Cup unless they step it up. Neither are scoring, while Wondolowski, Johnson and Johannssen are.
I actually thought Dempsey played well. The real encouraging thing for me was that he had a subpar first half but picked it up tremendously in the second half. He didnt just fade away, rather the opposite. He was coming to the ball and forcing himself to get involved.
I think it was encouraging out of him. Looked sharper than he has since coming to MLS.
I like him in the role he played last night. Playing like that, he starts in Brazil.
Donovan’s form, on the other hand, is real concerning.
First of all, Jozy is our best forward, period. Sporadically playing and earning starts every other game in the EPL is no small feat. Poyet at Stoke is still seeing enough to grant him starts. But your concern is valid. In terms of the forwards you mention, I think a big factor is the formation. If we are talking a 4-4-2, then yes, maybe there is a chance Jozy is swapped out (if his play is really bad). But in a target striker setup, Jozy will/needs to start. His skill and build is unrivaled in our current pool.
Wondo makes excellent runs and a top notch poacher. But he cannot hold up the ball which is ESSENTIAL against the big boys we will face in Brazil. He is only effective in the 4-4-2. He has grown on me. He may have earned his way to be on the plane.
Last night is a different look than what we will most likely see in Brazil.
The likelihood of Dempsey and Jozy losing there spot is unlikely. But in my opinion, the chance is higher for Dempsey to be challenged because of the competition – Donovan and Johansson. I wish Jozy could be realistically challenged, with you on that.
What? No! Stop being deceived by wins vs inferior competition Korea and Mexico were at half strength. Ukraine was at full blown power! If that euro squad played this Mexican squad we would have beaten them 5-0
I think that fitness could be the reason for the second half let down. It’s still early in MLS and the Mexicans got to make a lot of subs because it was a friendly. In the WC the MLS players should be in peak form…….I hope.
The reason for the second half let down was Miguel Herrera’s tactical change. When the game started Mexico looked like this
—————-The Dark Lord
Zavala and Chavez were totally lost and Fabian didn’t look good as a 9, Munoz also made important mistakes in both goals. At the second half Mexico’s line up looked like this:
with Zavala gone, Fabian and Medina started to take back the midfield, Jimenez imposed himself and was able to hold the ball making a better partnership with Pulido and Aguilar was a big improvement over Chavez, Miguel Herrera was able to find out the answer to the problems with his team, Klinsmann couldn’t and he lost the control of the game or maybe he didn’t try, I don’t really know.
Klinsmann couldn’t what? He wasn’t trying to counter Mexico tactically.
He had preset subs and times for heaven’s sake.
Ha! Yes, Paul.
Fabian looked like he was playing more of a wing position. The lineup worked tactically because with Bradley in the middle it leaves the US defense exposed. Bradley plays out of position often tends to stray from the middle and needs a player with him that is a true defensive midfielder (making Bradley the worst center mid pairing). Either he was trying to get away with playing more forward last night or he was tired. This led to the increased chances for Mexico. Teams that play us with three forwards or extra attacking mids will beat us if Bradley starts in the middle. So we’ll probably do well against Portugal in the World cup but not likely against Germany or Ghana. If we have fast fullbacks against Ghana, we may have a chance, like using Beasley and Yedlin.
Omar Gonzalez had the biggest impact on the second half for the USMNT.
Coffee just came out of my nose…hilarious.
That’s actually pretty spot on.
I think Demspsey started that way at Fulham, but later on dove a lot while taking more shots than any of his teammates. It was frustrating to watch until it became clearer he was fulham’s best chance of scoring. As one man said “He tries $#|t!.”
As a player ages they have to change their game up. Dempseys now more combative, verbal and a set piece maker. (Diver). If we practiced set pieces like we used to I think he would be our biggest asset. As it is now color me concerned.
should have stayed in ITALY
going home to MLS for the $$$. Not COOL.
Serie A had glory. Could fight for the title and be in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Said by a guy who likely has more than 10 prime working years and who is not exposed to career ending incidents everyday at the office.
Lets ask Stuart Holden what he thinks.
The Grim Reapier called. He wants his dead horse back. :'(
SpongeMikeSquarePass is makin the same $$$ as he was in Italy, 1.1 mil a year. Get a life, fanbois.
Yes. Do the math. Again. I’ve seen it revised over and over by idiots using increasingly imaginary tax rules. Prove it or be a troll. And yes, I know the tax codes very well. Go ahead. Let’s see it. C’mon Expat. Go for it.
Michael for sure. However in Brazil he needs to be FAR more conservative and stay back since, as we saw in the 2nd half, the gaping holes were obviously there to exploit.
Beckermann worked well in first half but he doesn’t cut it against a quality attacking team, he didn’t help at all 2nd half.
As for CBs, they don’t cut it but we have no one else 🙁
Beckermann does not provide cover due to his lack of speed. Also, when he is at a disadvantage Beckermann mucks it up and fouls, which is allowed in MLS. However, with the variable of WC officials he is a yellow card magnet at the international level.
Speed going forward and recovering in the midfield is crucial in our WC group!
Did Beckerman get a yellow yesterday? I don’t remember one, but I could be wrong.
Just out of curiousity.. WHO DID help in the second half? Beckerman wasn’t the problem. You can’t say after he helped dominate the midfield in the first half that he doesn’t cut it. The whole team struggled in the second half, no way you can pinpoint just Beckerman.
I think in the 2nd half, it was Mexico’s use of the outside that allowed them to attack without coming near to either MB or Beckerman. The outside mids and the fullbacks bear responsibility for that. I thought Davis did not do enough defensively. I thought Beltran tried too often to get forward and that left Zusi to backtrack (often too late) and added to the pressure on Gonzo who did not need the help look a bit lost. Parkhurst probably had the best game of the players who should have been containing Mexico’s wings. Yedlin also did pretty well for a young guy, at least he stayed home and in a position to defend from most of the time. Neither Green nor Donavon bolstered the defensive effort much.
Wait. I thought Bradley would surely be bad after signing for TFC? Or was that the overwhelming irrationality dominating some other message board.
Great performance. Had a huge effect on the game.
I would like to see Dempsey man up and diving so much.
I’m a(n) USMNT fan, but he’s playing like a princess.
Back at Fulham, he was inviting tackles and running through them.
Now, it seems all he’s looking for is a small bump and he’ll fall on contact.
Without a doubt Bradley was MVP. The second half was Klinsmann fault, didn’t correct his tatics and formation in time. While the “louse” corrected his midfield and cause damage to USNT’s defensive flanks.
Dempsey was crap! The 1% is wrong about Dempsey! Dempsey had that assist called “offside”, but Dempsey’s touch and shooting was terrible, Dempsey endless diving, and un-willing to move around and waiting for the ball all the time.
I don’t think the main point of the game was to try and win. The point was to look at players for the World Cup. In a regular game 6 substitutions aren’t made.
The main point: Dempsey isn’t a forward and been mediocre in his last caps for USNT. Leadership is important and Dempsey lost it!
you’re embarassing yourself with this all-or-nothing analysis. Deuce wasn’t great, but he certainly displayed some occasional flashes of brilliance as listed by others above.
He (Dempsey) had the lead in pass to help start the second goal, had a great assist called back, and otherwise played pretty well. I don’t understand the vitriol.
I never deny assist on the “offside” call. Dempsey was still mediocre on: shots on goal, leadership, creating any tempo or chances (note: chances). Forwards have to score or destroy defensive lines.
I think we’ve gotten to the point where Dempsey had a run of bad performances and now everyone’s being overly critical.
I for one was encouraged by how he played. He had a number of nice moments that created trouble for Mexico. By no means was he the man of the match but I thought he put in a solid outing.
“mediocre on” shots on goal, leadership, creating any tempo or chances”
Agree, his shots on goal did leave something to be desired. His “leadership”? Not sure how you are able judge this from TV, but for most of the night he was fiery, which is usually his style. Creating “tempo” – what does that even mean? His link up play was about the same as everyone, save MB. As for chances, he had a hand in the second goal, created a third goal, earned several corners, and had a phenomenal turn which was well saved by the keeper. I think it’s fair to say he created chances.
I’m not saying he played amazing. I’m just calling out dempsey haters grasping at straws
Agreed. I thought he looked creative and positive. Combined well in all of our dangerous moments. Not great but his best performance in a while.
Dempsey showed his vision recognizing the run Green made and delivered a great ball! That is what makes Dempsey a game changer. His pass to Johnson again was a game winner! Dempsey has and never will be ” the guy.” He is great at picking his spots in the attack with creative passing and dribbling. For the WC he just needs to find the net!
Probably the best match I’ve ever seen Bradley play. If he could keep this up in the World Cup, we have a decent chance of getting out of the group.
Who are the 1% that voted for Dempsey? He was absolutely useless last night, save for one touch that ended up going out for a corner. He just doesn’t seem the same player anymore and I don’t know if he is going to find that spark again before the tournament. I hope I am wrong.
While that 1% clearly is wrong, I think you’re further off-base than they are. Dempsey was solid last night. Not overwhelming, but he no doubt had a good performance. He had a great assist that was called back (an egregious call) and otherwise did well. Not his brightest performance to date, but no doubt encouraging.
It’s also interesting to note that he was hacked more than any other player last night, which seems to be the tactic against him these days.
“he was hacked more than any other player last night”
not sure about that; it seemed like bradley was taking quite a lot of hits. the difference was, bradley ran through them, and dempsey went down. i guess it’s debatable which is more effective.
He dove more than any other player. Some were hacks. I tend to agree… he is not our best option right now, spine or not
Maybe Dempsey is giving his Wolrd Cup opponents some false game tape? “Look at how ineffective he is … we don’t need to defend that guy”. Then at the World Cup he surprises everyone and comes out on fire!
Duece played a key role in the second goal, assisted on the winning goal which was incorrectly disallowed with a gorgeous through ball, had another beautiful through ball to Green and a sick first touch to beat two defenders and put himself on goal, but, for whatever reason, many folks can’t ever see good in Deuce unless he scores. It’s fashionable to hate on him but I thought this was a key performance. It was the first time I’ve seen him play succesfully in the playmaker role he seems to be shifting towards.
I thought deuce had his typical up an down performance punctuated by some breathtaking touches and passes with infinitely craptastic dives when barely touched.
I agree with TomG.
As good as he was for the first 30 minutes or so I thought MB picked up the slightest of knocks around minute 32-33. He didn’t quite look the same in the 2nd half.
Dave, you pegged it. And that will be THE plan for the teams we play. Stick a knee in the General’s backside early and slightly injure him. This is exactly what Germany did in France 98. Kneed Reyna in the backside early in the match..Slightly injured him. Yes, it was Germany and we probably would have lost, but that tactic had a huge affect on the game.
Please understand that the opposition knows who exactly who Jr is and how to disrupt any flow we might have.
DIdnt you hear the commentators say that we are gonna wrap MB90 in bubble wrap for the next 10 weeks?
Then Jermaine Jones returns the favor forcing the other team to make an injury substitution.
When Jermaine Jones returns the opposing team won’t have to worry about stopping Bradley. Jermaine will single handedly neutralize MB90
I am not finding much humor in the truthfulness of this statement. JJ is kryptonite to MB.
This is so true. IDK why JK doesnt see that MB does not mix well with JJ and the overall affect is we have no offense.
We actually didnt have much last night either when you think about it, Set piece goal 1, accidental offense and Wondo pounced on it for goal 2. We must do more if we are to have any chance of advancing in Brazil
Sounds like a soccer game. Have you ever watched?
No knock, he ran out of breath, simple as that, after 30 MINUTES!
Complete joke, this team, the Bombpops, are going to get creamed by the Black Stars and it’s going to be because of this turnover machine Mikey.
I absolutely love it when dudes like you magically “find” this site and start trolling for action. Tough day at work? Get used to it. Magic Mike will be your Ice Cream Man when this is over. Expat.
Whoa there stop the presses, Pele I humbly submit my name as “SBI Man of the Match/Century”… Here’s my rock solid case, which you certainly noticed while frantically searching for the remote control you needed to shut me down. I learned soccer today again. It sounds like this:
“US and Mexico played today… they call it a “friendly”(wait for it….) NOTHING FRIENDLY ABOUT IT!!!!” … GET IT?!?!
(Don’t worry I paraphrased it 5 times somehow it 10 minutes. You’ll get it.)
Also, I know Dan Patrick.
First of all that was hilarious. Thank you!
Second of all here is my ranking for man of the match.
I mentioned. Michael Parkhurst
ESPN attempting to reassert it’s dominance after two hours of viewers trying to ignore the bottom ticker…
yah, plus apparently High School basketball is more important than the pregame & anthems. They put the pregame/intro on ESPN2 then hopped it to it’s real location (ESPN).
And yes, the ticker really annoyed me.
How do you figure? I for one am tired of watching this godlike man, strutting around the field in his popsicle outfit crushing souls and being exceptional. Several of our guests from the south seemed quite irritated by his behaviour. I daresay they might not accept our invitation to join us at the next World Cup — we had to pull quite a few strings this time lest we forget.
How about somebody a little more reserved, like our erstwhile captain, whose kind-of-encouraging performance was punctuated a perfectly in-theme free-kick to close out the match, delivered with all the conviction and dignity of a unicycle crash.
Nice one Ali Dia, good stuff.
Who is this Jeff Carlisle, what are his soccer credentials?.
Instead of a captain arm band, these new uniforms are deserving of a RED CAPE.
Worn by none other than MB.
and yet all the promotion ads on the Men’s side show Dempsey, the former star, now in semi-retirement
In the first half he looked like a world class player. Truly amazing. His first touch was supple, and he seemed to play everything one or two touch. He and Beckerman were working together perfectly.
Did you notice that it sound like he had a Canadian accent during his post game interview?
I absolutely hate these jerseys.
I emailed US Soccer and told them to fire Nike and that I would never wear that jersey
YESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought I was the only one!
This is not unusual for people who are bilingual, trilingual and such. You become more in tune to the dialect you are living in and adapt without even noticing. It happens to me when i go visit family in mississippi. Thank god it vanishes quickly after i leave…
It happens to me also whenever I travel with the Timbers Army to Seattle. Thank god also that it vanishes when I leave.
Bradley looked Zidane-esque with his control over the game in the first half. Hope we see more of this to come